A common question we get asked is ‘What is your average monthly cost to travel full time?’.
So in 2009, I kept a basic log of our fuel and camping fees for public display and just added in December’s numbers. In the process, I decided to add in some of our fixed costs that are necessary to our travels to better give folks a realistic cost of our full time travel.
Here’s the 2009 totals:
(For those on RSS or e-mail, you may need to click through to the full post to view the embedded Google Doc spreadsheet.)
Now keep in mind, I’m only reporting the costs specifically associated with our full time traveling. I’ve left off expenses that we’d incur anyway if we lived more stationary – such as food, clothing, entertainment, tech geekery, etc. I figure that these expenses will vary by person anyway based on personal style, so what we spend isn’t really all that representative.
The combination of fuel and camping fees are the most equivalent living expense we have that replaced paying rent or a mortgage, which as you can see typically comes in less than moderate accommodations in a decent sized city. At an average of $500/month, it’s about a 75% savings over my previous mortgage payment in Florida.
There are two fixed expenses that I did include, that are arguable if they’re travel specific or not.
- Connectivity: Our two cell phone bills and cellular data service are both expenses that we’d have regardless. Even before I went on the road, I used my cell phone as my only phone line and maintained a data plan for mobile accessibility. However, since these expenses are so essential to enabling our life and work style – I decided to include them as part of our fixed technomadic expenses.
- Insurance: Obviously. a full-timer’s RV policy is travel specific. I included insurance on our tow vehicle (despite auto insurance being necessary for any vehicle owner) as a travel expense. And I decided to include our health insurance plans – as prior to being nomadic, we were both covered by group plans paid by our employers (ok – so I’m my own employer, I’ve always technically paid my own.) However, in order to secure coverage across the nation, we went with individual insurance that can’t be paid through our company. Finding nationwide coverage that doesn’t penalize you for being geographically flexible is a challenge, for sure – and we’ll be addressing that in a future post. I’ve decided to include our self paid premiums as part of our travel expenses.
Other expenses that folks should keep in mind if considering a full time RVing lifestyle might include payments on your rig if you can’t purchase in cash. Ours is paid for, so we don’t have those sorts of expenses. For a more complete description of our monthly expenses and factors that influence our costs, refer to our Cost Log – which I generally keep up to date each month.
I found it rather serendipitously ironic that in 2009 we spent just over $13,000 and traveled just over 13,000 miles.
So I suppose another way of expressing our travel cost is A buck a mile!
Which to us.. seems like a pretty sweet deal for a life of full time travel!